Interior Minister Carmen Dan stated on Tuesday that the intelligence on Sebastian Ghita was provided by the Romanian side.
“The intelligence was provided by the Romanian side. I point out that this data was put at the disposal of Serbian Police on the morning of April 13. Along with it, we also asked for support in order to locate him. Throughout the day there was a continued exchange of data and information that ended at 11.50 p.m. with the spotting of two men on a street in Belgrade. One of them had Romanian ID, the other stated he was a Slovenian citizen. After they were stopped to be identified, they were taken to the police precinct in Belgrade and the police immediately started the procedure to identify the two. Verifications showed that the ID was fake, in the sense that it belonged to an expired ID even though the ID presented was within the valid period. If Romanian Police expressed its thanks that doesn’t mean we made the defendant’s route public but that the police verified all information obtained against the backdrop of the actions to locate him,” Carmen Dan told Digi24 private television broadcaster.
Ploiesti Court of Appeals judges admitted Sebastian Ghita’s extradition, noting that the legal conditions for it are met. Their ruling will be sent to the Justice Ministry, which will ask the Serbian authorities to extradite the former lawmaker.
On Tuesday, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated that the institution he leads is waiting for documents from the courts that issued the arrest warrant on Sebastian Ghita’s name, and will start the extradition procedure as soon as it receives them.
“The international Interpol Office notified the Romanian courts, the courts that issue pre-trial arrest warrants, that Sebastian Ghita was detained for 48 hours. On April 17, Interpol notified the Romanian courts that Sebastian Ghita was arrested, placed under pre-trial detention for a period of 18 days, starting on April 14. According to the law, Romanian courts that issue arrest warrants must urgently verify the observance of the legal conditions in order to demand his extradition. At this moment, we are waiting for courts to conclude the verifications regarding the legality of setting in motion the extradition procedure. The Justice Ministry already has this procedure, this request, ready. We are waiting for the courts’ solutions and we will start the procedure the very next second we receive them,” the Justice Minister stated.
Sources close to the investigation told MEDIAFAX that the former lawmaker was visited by Alexandru Ghita, his brother, on Thursday, the latter’s trip to Belgrade being the one that led to the capture of the former lawmaker. The two allegedly left the house where Ghita was staying and Serbian policemen were notified about the identity of the former lawmaker. At that point, the two were asked for their IDs. Sebastian Ghita showed law enforcement officers a fake ID, telling them, in English, that he is a Slovenian student. Investigators already had information, from Romanian authorities, that the former lawmaker was staying there, so he was taken to the police precinct once it was discovered the ID was fake, the same sources pointed out.
The aforementioned sources point out that, throughout this period, Sebastian Ghita allegedly stayed in touch with other persons close to him, apart from his brother, a woman who was close to the former lawmaker taking at least one trip to Serbia since he disappeared.
Serbian Interior Ministry and Border Police, among Teamnet Group’s clients
The Serbian Interior Ministry, the Serbian Border Police and the Serbian Real-estate Assets Commission are part of Teamnet Group’s portfolio of clients, the company having offices in Romania, Serbia, Belgium, Republic of Moldova, France, Turkey and Croatia, according to Teamnet.ro.
In the last seven years, Teamnet Group expanded in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, currently having offices in Bucharest, Iasi, Galati, Bistrita Nasaud, Belgrade, Brussels, Chisinau, Lausanne, Istanbul and Zagreb, the company’s website shows.
Teamnet Group’s portfolio of clients also includes three Serbian state institutions: Serbia’s Interior Ministry, the Serbian Interior Ministry’s Border Police Directorate and Serbia’s Real-estate Assets Commission, according to Teamnet.ro.
According to the aforementioned site, Teamnet Group’s CEO is Bogdan Padiu, the company being founded by Sebastian Ghita, the latter having been its representative until 2012.
In February, Bogdan Padiu was brought before DNA Ploiesti to be heard in the case in which Sebastian Ghita is criminally prosecuted for influence peddling, money laundering (recurrent) and the setting up of a crime ring. Subsequently, Bogdan Padiu was detained and a criminal probe against him started.
“Also ordered was the start of a criminal probe and 24-hour detention, starting on 27 February 2017, against defendants (…) PADIU BOGDAN, CEO of S.C. Teamnet International S.A., for complicity to influence peddling and money laundering (both recurrent) and the setting up of an organised crime group,” reads a DNA press release.
According to prosecutors, Sebastian Ghita is accused, in this case, of asking various IT companies for over 50 million euros, in return for the awarding of public contracts.
“From 2007 to 2014, defendant Ghita Sebastian Aurelian, along with defendants Padiu Bogdan and Anastasescu Cristian, hid the true source of the aforementioned sums of money, by registering, in their bookkeeping, fictitious commercial operations whose object consisted of alleged IT services rendered by S.C. Teamnet International S.A., S.C. Asesoft International S.A. and other companies belonging to the same group, while knowing that the sums of money were the proceeds of influence peddling crimes. At the same time, starting in 2010, defendant Ghita Sebastian Aurelian, along with defendants Padiu Bogdan and Anastasescu Cristian, formed an organised crime group that continued to be active until 2014.
“The crime group was founded and led by defendant Ghita Sebastian Aurelian, and the other two defendants had well-defined and well-assigned prerogatives within the group, the goal being to obtain material benefits by committing influence peddling and money laundering crimes. The group had a hierarchical structure. In what concerns its members’ assignments, they were the following:
- Ghita Sebastian was the one who initiated the setting up of the organised crime group and subsequently had the role of asking the representatives of some IT companies for sums of money to facilitate the awarding and proper execution of public contracts to said companies;
- Padiu Bogdan, as representative of S.C. Teamnet International S.A. and defendant Anastasescu Cristian, as representative of S.C. Asesoft International S.A., had the role of making sure defendant Ghita Sebastian Aurelian received the money demanded and of introducing the money in a financial circuit, giving it an appearance of legality by ordering and/or signing fictitious documents justifying them,” reads the DNA press release.
In early April, DNA Ploiesti asked the Prahova Court to interdict, for a period of 60 days, the initiation of procedures to have SC Asesoft International and SC Teamnet International dissolved, considering that the companies are investigated for complicity to influence peddling and money laundering.
“Through the rulings issued by the Prahova Court’s Section II for Administrative and Fiscal Litigations, the start of the general insolvency procedure was ordered against debtors S.C. Asesoft International S.A. and S.C. Teamnet International S.A. So far, the procedure for bankruptcy and for dissolving of the two legal persons has not started. In the request filed with the Prahova Court, prosecutors show that the measure proposed has an urgent character and is strictly related to the proper progress of the criminal lawsuit (by ensuring the continued existence of the two legal persons, their presence at court hearings and the continued existence of the assets needed for the payment of the sanction and of the sums confiscated in case a final conviction is ruled),” reads the prosecutors’ press release.
In this case, a distraint has been ordered on assets worth RON 13,299,972 belonging to defendant S.C. Asesoft International S.A. and on assets worth RON 23,195,578.2 belonging to defendant S.C. Teamnet International S.A.
JusMin Toader: Sebastian Ghita detained based on arrest warrants issued in Romania
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Tuesday evening that Sebastian Ghita was identified and detained by authorities in Serbia based on the warrants issued in Romania.
“Sebastian Ghita was identified and detained based on the arrest warrants issued in Romania. If they detained him, you realize that the detention cannot be done without an indictment, an analysis, without a case, which means that the moment he was detained, subsequently arrested for 18 days, there was a judicial basis, a judicial and factual ground for enforcing these serious measures,” Tudorel Toader told Antena 3 private television station.
He added that on Wednesday the Justice Ministry might receive the final decisions regarding the legality of the arrest warrants issued on the name of Sebastian Ghita.
“At 17:30 hrs we didn’t have a final verification closure in respect to the legality of the two warrants which the extradition request is based on. Probably tomorrow we will receive them and from that point on the mission goes to the Justice Ministry to request the extradition. But one doesn’t request the extradition as a first thing after the closure is received because the Justice Ministry, in its turn, through its specialized directorate must conduct a verification of the international regularity, the collaboration requirement, the requirement of the international convention. […] After the verification, this international regularization, the compliance with international acts, immediately, right away, we set in motion the extradition request, but […] at the Justice Ministry we don’t receive […] the closure of the first court, but the final closure,” Justice Minister stated.